POLL: Should the rhino horn trade in South Africa be banned?

POLL: Should the rhino horn trade in South Africa be banned?

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South Africa’s supreme court has dismissed a government bid to uphold a seven-year ban on the domestic trade in , an industry group said this week.

The decision has no bearing on a ban on international trade in horn. Potential domestic buyers could include those who see horn as a store of wealth that could appreciate in value and those who want it as a decoration.

John Hume, the world’s biggest rhino rancher who owns around 1,300 of the animals, said he was hoping to sell some of his stock of five tonnes. Photograph: Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of South African rhinos have been slain in recent years to meet demand for the horn in Asian countries, where buyers consider it an aphrodisiac, a cure for cancer or treatment for hangovers.

“Legal finality has now been achieved,” Pelham Jones, chairman of South Africa’s Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA), told Reuters, saying trade could resume this year.

Around 5,000 rhinos, or about a quarter of South Africa’s population, are in private hands. Rhino horn can be harvested as it grows back and it can be removed from a tranquilised animal.

The government has not revealed the size of its rhino horn stockpile but the PROA estimates its members have around six tonnes and reckons the state has close to 25 tonnes. The combined 31 tonnes could fetch $2bn by some estimates.

A spokeswoman for South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs said it would comment later in the day on the ruling, which was made on Friday.

It was not immediately clear if the department would now appeal to the constitutional court, the top court in the land.

Supporters of rhino horn trade say the money earned could be used for conservation and to pay for security. Opponents counter that a legal trade could tempt poachers who kill rhinos to launder their “blood” horns with clean supplies.

The decision is a setback to government efforts to keep a lid on the domestic trade in rhino horn, which was imposed in 2009. It comes just months ahead of a major UN conference on that South Africa will host.

The domestic trade ban was challenged by rhino owners in court last year and the moratorium was overturned.

Both buyers and sellers of rhino horn in South Africa still need to apply for a permit, so that the government can keep tabs on the commodity.

John Hume, the world’s biggest rhino rancher who owns around 1,300 of the animals, said he was hoping to sell some of his stock of five tonnes.

“We will certainly try and sell some rhino horn.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 24 May 2016.

We invite you to share your opinion whether the rhino horn trade in South Africa should be banned? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page:

Should the rhino horn trade in South Africa be banned?

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Delbert Smith

These include: involving local communities in conservation activities and benefit-sharing, mitigating human-lion conflicts, and retaliation killing or poisoning by cattle herders and pastoralists, improving protected area management to benefit lions and restoring connectivity between fragmented lion populations. Countries also agreed on the need to investigate further the illegal trade in lion bones and other parts, the introduction of wildlife and ecosystem-based land-use practices and the need to step up transboundary collaboration to address the plight of African Lions. “African lion Range States share a common objective to ensure the survival of lions in the wild. There is agreement on the… Read more »

Delbert Smith

Saving lions: Africa agrees on ways forward First African lion Range States meeting led by CITES and CMS brings about constructive outcomes in the lead up to CITES CoP17 and CMS COP12 Entebbe, Uganda, 1 June 2016– In a historic move, representatives of 28 African lion Range States have reached broad agreement to secure the survival of this iconic species in the wild across Africa. The continent-wide consensus on the conservation, management and restoration of the lion (Panthera leo) and its habitat in Africa was reached at a meeting hosted by the Ugandan Government and jointly convened by the Convention… Read more »

Jane Wiltshire

Delbert Smith – Good on you that you at least visited South Africa. I, on the other hand, am an African born and bred who grew up and still resides in Kwazulu Natal – where the tiny population of southern white rhinos that had been saved from rapacious, senseless killing by Europeans and Americans by being in the Zulu King's private hunting area and the tsetse fly was nutured into a population that has restocked many of the former range states, some , like Botswana TWICE. We have earned the right to decide how best to save our rhino as… Read more »

Dee Bastarache

Well said !!!! I agree .If there is one animal they will destroy it !!! I ask WHY ? Isnt it better to see it alive and moving ? No they will kill every elephant and rhino they can !!! For money and they enjoy killing too.

Dee Bastarache

That would be a good idea to dehorn them ! They are not interested in anything else on that rhino or elephant .If its gone its safer for them both .

Dee Bastarache

Yes it should be banned !!!! there is no other way !!!!!!!!!

Delbert Smith

Jane Wiltshire You do agree than banning the trade increases poaching. By the way I established a group of US Ex Pats, that are protecting several of the privatly owned rhinos. and will be traveling back in August to a farm near Messina.

Delbert Smith

Jane Wiltshire You are dreaming. When did you last visit R.S.A. I was there last year.

Jane Wiltshire

Where do you get the absolute lies you peddle as 'facts'? More than 66% of South Africa' srhino are owned by SANPARKS and Ezemvelo et al. Just look at the IUCN African Rhino Specilaist Group's latest figures. This is an example of your slapdash approach to the figures you purport to be facts! This question is too important for a blatant lie like this to be allowed to stand. Shame on you!

Delbert Smith

Most people miss the fact that 90% of the Rhinos are privatly owned. YOu should spend some money and go to see for yourself I did.

Delbert Smith

Liek the ban and burning of Ivory has helped. LOL only to drive the price UP!!!

Delbert Smith

In that case 99% of the people would not be allowed to vote. Make it legal take the profit out of it. I di agree as most of my RSA friends that raise and spend their own money protecting Rhinos, kill the poachers on site.

Kerri Christensen Du Plessis

Why hasn't it been banned already!

Bugs Van Heerden

One thing about such polls is that you dont require a qualification to vote. This seems to be the core issue about this subject is that far too many people are ideologicaly impaired and rabid keyboard bangers – who have very little experience or insight into this subject. This topic should not be faught over in social media, but should be handled by people who have the required knowledge and experience. Would you get financial advice from a taxi driver? No. Why not ask top conservationists and economists what they think?

Jane Wiltshire

There are tons of horn in storage and hundreds of horns each year from natural mortalities. No harvested horn would be required for a considerable time and this horn would protect at least some of our living rhinos and allow them to breed up. Currently many owners, private and state, are de-horning in an effort to make their rhino less attractive as a poaching target.

Jane Wiltshire

'Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it' Churchill The 38 year ban has not stopped rhino poaching. In fact most bans INCREASE the very thing they are trying to stop – see the prohibition and the 'War on Drugs' whereas legalisation and regulation DECREASE it – Portugal and drugs, the success of radically decreasing poaching of crocodiles by legalising trade. In fact, in prohibition, the people who were in an unholy (albeit unwitting on the part of the Baptists!) alliance were the Baptists and the Bootleggers! Aren't the beneficiaries of the horn trade ban the poachers.… Read more »

Leeanne Innes

Only the greedy want to trade in rhino horn, it has nothing to do with saving the rhino and everything to do with them making money. Trophy hunters tell you the same thing. #NoTrade

Megan Snyders

Absolutely, it should be band.

Elaine Costolo

Yes. Definitely. Before it is too late to save these wonderful animals.

Albina Hume

The world without rhinos would be much worse than the rhino with trimmed horns. Horn grows back! Poached rhino gone forever.

Hayley Jobber

The ONLY ones who NEED rhino horn are the RHINOS!!

Hayley Jobber

YES! Of course it should be banned! And anyone found buying or selling rhino horn should be SEVERELY punished.

Debbie Charlesworth

There is no need at all for rhino horn in any capacity in any country

Rob de Jong

it is only people who are playing for god and they think they can controle the world , no the world does not need us the world does need the animals more cause we are only destroying nature and the animals are keeping it together , people only are creedy for money, and when there is one animal left there is always a human who wants it dead on the wall ,,, that is why most humans are stupid dumb fucks

Brad Murphy

yes it should be banned,much harsher pealties for those caught murdering these beautiful creatures should be implemented.

Leigh Lofgren

what on earth is going on over there and why would a court allow this?

Susan Frudd

Without doubt it should be banned there is no reason or excuse to put these magnificent animals through tranquilization or removal of the horn by any means it is brutal, inhumane and cruel….rhino horn belongs on the rhino…always………

Premila Stunkel

Voted yes